#EngGrammar: Inanimate Objects with Gender in English


Hi fellas, how are you today? Did you have a blast Thursday? Our discussion today is related to gender. Before that, we need to oversee the definition of gender. Can you tell me what gender is? And what makes it different from sex?


Gender refers to expectations, behaviors, roles, and activities of somebody in a society. Meanwhile, sex refers to biological and physiological characteristics of somebody.

So, it is true that sex much refers to male or female. You can identify somebody is a male/female when you recognize the person possesses the characteristics of a male/female. Whereas gender is much about masculinity and femininity, you define somebody to be masculine/feminine from the non-physical qualities the person possesses.

Now, do you know that some objects (inanimate) in English are also designated to have a gender? Although English is a genderless language, not like French that has masculine and feminine for every object, some objects in English are noted to be addressed as a she or a he. This discussion is important for you in order to address the object properly in English as not all the inanimate things are addressed with ‘it.’

Some objects that are feminine are…

(1a) planets named after Goddesses; (2a) the soul; (3a) a city; (4a) a country; (5a) a church; (6a) a ship; and (7a) the moon. Some people also regard (8a) a carriage; (9a) a cannon; and (10a) a gun; and (11a) hurricanes. Other than those, some objects you love the most could also be regarded as ‘she.’ e.g. a guitarist might consider his guitar ‘a she.’

Then how about ‘he’? Well, not many objects are designated to have a masculine gender though.

(1b) a planet named after Gods; and (2b) a bridge. But it is depending on the speaker. A person might consider a bridge masculine because of its sturdiness or endurance. Another person considers a bridge as ‘a she’ for it is beautifully designed and elegantly built.

Why do those objects are designated to have a gender? Well, it is because some people believe that they are more than just lifeless objects. It is similar to what happen in our country, Indonesia. We named a horse carriage or a keris with ‘Ki,’ and some gems are named ‘Nyi.’

Now it is your turn to answer the questions. You need to assign a gender of the objects in the following sentences.

e.g I love music. I have spent my whole life with my violin. My dad bought (he/she/him/her) when I was three. à answer: her #EngGrammar

Here comes your turn.

  1. The Diamond Jubilee State Coach is a modern horse-carriage of the British kingdom. (He/She/Him/Her) was constructed in Australia.
  2. A Prague is so mesmerising. (He/She/Him/Her) is located in Czech Republic.
  3. Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. Scientists estimate (he/she/him/her) to have a mass one-thousandth that of the sun.
  4. One of the cyclones that hit Brazil is Catarina. (He/She/Him/Her) hit Brazil in 2004 with (he/she/him/her) speed that reached 120km/h.

Great, and here are the answers.

  1. She
  2. She
  3. him
  4. She, her


Compiled and written by @wisznu at @EnglishTips4u on November 5, 2015

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